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Iga Flower Vase with Handles

Craft Artist
Takashi Tanimoto
Iga, Mie Prefecture

Modern Ko-Iga

Long ago, the Iga region lay beneath Lake Biwa. Iga ware is made by firing the high-quality, highly refractory clay of this region at high temperatures. The unique design of Iga ware, including not only the vidro glaze created by ash during firing, but also the intentionally distorted shape, the pair of ear-like handles on each side, the pattern created by the spatula, and the burnt finish, attracted the tea masters of the Momoyama period (1573 – 1603), and many water jars and vases were created. Iga ware from this period is called Ko-Iga (“Old Iga”).

Born and raised in the Iga region in a pottery family, Takashi Tanimoto is a leading artist in Iga ware, expressing an aesthetic characteristic of Ko-Iga known as “hacho-no-bi,” or the “beauty in discord,” with his own sensibility. His Iga Flower Vase with Handles, made in the modern age by an artist well known for his originality in modeling, have a fresh and charming shape while also remaining rooted in the tradition of Ko-Iga. The clay surface, with visible and hidden grains of stone, is covered with a discreet green glaze, and exhibits a bold burnt surface at the base. The work is filled with a powerful sense of beauty that respects the freedom and individuality that has lived on in the Iga region for generations.